NORMAN - As the preseason winds down and the Sooners inch closer towards the first game of the 2017-18 season, head coach Lon Kruger and a trio of student-athletes previewed the upcoming campaign at Big 12 Media Day. Sophomore guard Kameron McGusty, junior guard Rashard Odomes and freshman guard Trae Young joined Kruger at Sprint Center, home of the 2018 Big 12 Championship, in Kansas City.
Fans will have their first glimpse of the Sooners earlier than most years, as Oklahoma will host a charity scrimmage against UT Arlington on Saturday at noon before OU's homecoming football game.
Below is a transcript from a portion of Kruger's press conference at Big 12 Media Day.
OU HEAD COACH LON KRUGER
"It's great to be here. It's an enjoyable time, that four or five weeks of practice before we have to worry about games and playing time and everything else. Fun group of guys, still a little bit young, but we're working on maturing quickly, they have worked hard, energy, enthusiasm is great, looking forward to a hurricane relief game this weekend, then exhibition game November 8th and right into the season. Excited about what lies ahead."
There has been talk about Trae Young and what he can do for you. But how does having a player like that change what you are able to do offensively overall?
"Trae has outstanding skill. Anytime you've got a player like that, he's got an opportunity to make players around him better by attracting attention, by driving and attracting help defender and kicking. He's very fast out of the backcourt so he's creating some hopefully easy buckets in transition. He's made the transition very quickly, and, again, he's used to a lot of high-level competition through his high school and summertime ball, so he's doing very well."
You've had a lot of teams at OU that exceed rankings in the Big 12 preseason poll. Do you plays any stake in that or why do you think that's happened?
"I'm not aware too much about that, nor worried too much about that. We've got guys that like to play, they like to work at getting better every day and hopefully make progress throughout the season. In the Big 12 you have to do that because everyone else is doing that. Again, maybe not a lot of highly heralded guys coming in recruiting wise, but, I don't know, other than that not too concerned about the preseason part of it, just hoping to get better every day."
I know Buddy, it took him four years to become Buddy Hield, but just for the sake of understanding about where Trae Young is, where was Buddy as a freshman compared to where Trae is now?
"Of course Buddy wasn't on the radar as Trae has been, so big difference there. Buddy from day one had the ideal attitude about doing whenever he needed to do to get better. He was out to prove something all the time and wasn't as highly heralded as Trae. Trae is very, very competitive but he's motivated in a different way of going out and proving that he is capable of doing all the things that are expected of him. Two different starting points but I think both equally motivate to work hard every day and do things well."
How has Trae dealt with the attention, the local kids stayed home from school, McDonald's All-American, how is he dealing with the attention?
"Seems to be doing very well with it. Again, he's used to it. He got a lot of attention as a junior and senior in high school and on the summer circuit, so it's not something that's new to him. He's done a really good job of making it about his teammates and making it about others, the program, and he's a guy that could go off individually and hasn't done that. He's very -- he's smart with regard to the value of doing things as a group and he knows, too, that he needs his teammates to play well and he's doing everything he can to help encourage them and motivate them to do everything they can and certainly his teammates appreciate what he can do."